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Falwell's Paper Headlines Threat to Abandon Bush

Sunday, 01 June 2003 12:00 AM

Penned by the Journal's editor J.M. Smith, this lead story lambastes the Republican party and its current chairman, Marc Racicot, for getting too cozy with gay groups.

The issue of GOP courting of gay activist groups has been swirling in Washington for months, and became a lighting rod issue for the Christian right and pro-family groups after Republican National Committee Chairman Raicot met privately with members of the Human Rights Campaign, a powerful gay group.

The conservative groups also were angered after the White House and RNC offered only tepid support for Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, after remarks he made were harshly criticized by gay groups.

The weight given to this issue by Falwell's publication can not be ignored, and indicates how serious this issue may become in Bush's re-election effort.

The Journal quoted such leading lights in the family oriented conservative community as former presidential candidate Gary Bauer and the Family Research Council's Ken Connor, a group founded by Dr. James Dobson.

As NewsMax.com first reported [

In reaction to Racicot's meeting with the Human Right Campaign, a dozen top conservative leaders met with RNC chairman in early May and conveyed their concerns to him. Most came away convinced they had made some headway in convincing Racicot of the danger of massive defections should the GOP cave on such issues as gay marriage. However, as the Journal reports, their hope were dashed when Racicot suggested that religious conservatives are opposed to the gay rights agenda because of fear and ignorance.

The Advocate, a gay magazine, quoted Racicot telling gay activists, "They probably don't know gay people."

Smith responded that Racicot, in so speaking, showed his "own ignorance and willingness to make blind suggestions about people of faith."

The gay magazine also quoted Racicot as saying Christian activists had frightened potential supporters: "People fear to educate them. [They have] their own fear and lots of misinformation and disinformation, which some do for political expediency."

These insensitive remarks about Mr. Bush's strongest and most dedicated supporters provoked Ken Connor to write "Mr. Racicot appears to be utterly tone deaf - or openly hostile - to the concerns of the GOP's pro-family voters who oppose same-sex marriage, mainstreaming homosexuality in the public schools, allowing gays to serve openly in the military, adopt children, and making homosexual conduct a protected civil right with special legal privileges. We question whether Mr. Racicot has the sensibilities to lead the Bush Campaign."

Adding fuel to the fire, the notoriously left-wing New York Times revealed Saturday that in early May White House officials went out of their way to host 200 members of the Log Cabin Republicans, a 25-year-old gay Republican group. According to the Times, the visit "included a policy briefing with senior administration officials in the Old Executive Office Building," which "symbolized their progress under President Bush."

Noting that "the emergence of gays as a more vocal presence in Republican politics is angering some leaders of conservative groups," the Times reported that White House officials were dismissive of the complaints, arguing that the President Bush is "simply trying to be inclusive and find common ground with gays when he can," a strategy "political analysts say has worked well for Mr. Bush on other issues."

The Times noted conservative concerns and that pro-family groups "have been sending pointed messages to the White House warning that President Bush's re-election is in jeopardy if he continues to court what they call the 'homosexual lobby...'"

"Although Mr. Bush did not attend," the Times reported, "gone are the days when Bob Dole, a Republican candidate for president, refused a campaign contribution from the Log Cabin group."

"In '96, Bob Dole returned a check," Randy Boudreaux, 33, a Log Cabin leader from Louisiana, told the Times reporter who accompanied the group on the bus ride to the White House. "Now we're going to the White House."

Defending White House approaches to gay groups, Scott McClellan, a White House spokesman told the Times that the president "believes strongly that one of the roles of a leader is to bring people together around shared priorities."

Furthermore, some Republican strategists like Charlie Black think Bush's outreach is a good idea. Black told the Times that Bush "understands the old Reagan rule, which is somebody who supports me 80 percent of the time is my 80 percent friend and not my 20 percent enemy."

The Times recognized the serious political consequences that could flow from current GOP outreach attempts towards gay groups, noting that "the current tension between gays and conservatives" illustrates the risks of that strategy, which puts "the two main tenets of Mr. Bush's brand of Republicanism - the 'big tent' philosophy and the 'family values' agenda - on a collision course, just in time for the 2004 election campaign."

Almost all political pundits agree that in the 2000 election Christian right voters gave Bush his margin of victory in his slim win over Al Gore.

"The first crash, people on both sides say, could be in June, when the Supreme Court is expected to rule on a case involving a Texas law banning sodomy," the Times predicted. "The case is regarded as pivotal for those advocating equal rights for gays, and many legal experts predict that the Supreme Court will overturn the law."

The Times quoted Ken Connor as saying, "Candidate Bush said in the second debate that he felt marriage was a sacred covenant, limited to a man and a woman. That was not a huge issue in 2000. Mark it down. It will be a big, big issue in 2004."

The paper added comments by Free Congress Foundation head Paul Weyrich that should convince the White House of the dangers the president faces as a result of GOP flirting with supporters of the gay agenda.

Speaking of the meeting with Racicot, Weyrich said, "The main message that we delivered was that you are playing with political fire if you are seen to be in any way compromising with the homosexual lobby."

With Falwell's influential National Liberty Journal joining in the fray, the political fire has just gotten hotter.

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Penned by the Journal's editor J.M. Smith, this lead story lambastes the Republican party and its current chairman, Marc Racicot, for getting too cozy with gay groups. The issue of GOP courting of gay activist groups has been swirling in Washington for months, and became...
Sunday, 01 June 2003 12:00 AM
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